Monday, February 9, 2015

Heart, Might, Mind and Strength

February 9, 2015

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your HEART, MIGHT, MIND AND STRENGTH that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. 

I believe that there should be an added footnote or two to this well-known missionary scripture that says....WARNING - Footnote a: when serving with all your HEART, it may be broken as your sincere desires for other to come unto Christ are not fulfilled.

Footnote b: when serving with all your MIGHT and STRENGTH, you may encounter days when it truly is a miracle that your body still functions because you are so exhausted. 

I could continue with footnote c about the MIND, but my mind is a little tired.  :) haha
With Valentine’s Day coming up, of course HEARTS are the symbol that represent the feeling of LOVE and devotion to someone.  Well this year my valentine is Missionary Work...and according to the above footnote when a missionary embarks on this journey sometimes your heart is broken and you have never felt so exhausted physically in your life, therefore your preparation day for the coming week was full of sleeping. :)  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE with all my heart, might, mind, and strength being a missionary....but sometimes your heart is broken and you just feel exhausted.  But, as President Uchtdorf stated..."there is too much at stake to only give a halfhearted effort to this sacred work." 

ALL this week we saw MIRACLES and prayers answered that Brayan, especially, could not deny that this was the true church and he should be baptized.  2 days before his planned baptismal date he even had a dream that he told his parents, who are very against the church, that he would be baptized the following Saturday.  With tears in his eyes he exclaimed to us that, "Hermanas, they were OVERJOYED for me.  They were happy."   But I learned this week as never before that Satan plays until the whistle blows, and at times, makes a freaking late hit. 

So on Brayan’s baptism day (Saturday), we participated in an activity with the youth in our ward who are planning to go on missions.  The activity was to give them the experience that they could become missionaries for a day.  To start the day, I had volunteered to make pancakes for everyone for breakfast....let’s just say we went to bed late the night before from making all the pancake mix and woke up SO early to cook them all.  Everyone loved them, and for a few of them, it was their first time eating a pancake...crazy right?!  

Missionaries for a Day

Each full-time missionary or returned missionary was assigned 2 of the youth to help them study and practice being a missionary.  I was assigned the two cutest girls in the world, Karen and Mayra, and we set out to teach as many people as we could.  

Karen and Mayra
We tried a lot of people, but NO one was home so we went back to the church.  Mi hijita, Hermana Vilchez, and her temporary companions had similar luck and were not able to find anyone home, BUT she did call Familia Nuñez (Brayan’s uncle and aunt) and they said they weren’t home, but that we would see them at Brayan’s baptism at 7pm.  WAHOO!!!!!  We even bought a chocolate cake to celebrate with after the service. 

So at 6 pm we arrived at the church and began to arrange the chairs for the baptism.  I also went and turned on the water to fill up the baptismal font (keep in mind I turned it on about 6:30 and obviously left it on at full blast so it would be ready at 7 o’clock....we will get back to the font in just a few moments).  7:00 came around and Brayan wasn’t there.  We just thought, okay they are late because of the rain storm, it’s all good.  7:30 came and went and they STILL weren’t there.  We called to his house a million and 3 times but no one answered. 

Finally, at exactly 8:12, Melanie, the youngest of the Nuñez family, came running into the church absolutely dripping wet from just getting from their car to the door of the church.  (When it rains here, it RAINS!)  We happily greeted the family as they all came in and Hermana Nuñez said, "I am very upset with you 2...."  "WHAT?! WHY?!" we asked.  Turns out that Brayan’s aunt and uncle (Hermano y Hermana Nuñez), who he lives with, were not aware until this week that his baptism was happening on Saturday.  They said that they didn’t have time to invite everyone, that Brayan’s parents also didn’t know and would be upset with his aunt and uncle, and that they wanted a certain person to baptize him.

AHH un poco de vinas [not sure about the translation here – literally translated it means “a little bit of vineyards”, but I’m sure it has some kind of other meaning in Ecuador].  Grandma Nuñez and her daughter, Hermana Nuñez were arguing, and in the end not talking to each other.  Long story short, Brayan and the missionaries, yours truly, did not communicate very well to the family that Brayan would be baptized so quickly.   We felt AWFUL and so did Brayan.  Brayan wanted to be baptized on Saturday, but because the family was fighting and the spirit of happiness and love was not present, we all decided it would be better to wait until next week. 

Oh how Satan used the spirit of contention to ruin a perfectly happy day.  After talking for a LONG time with everyone we decided on a baptismal date.  SO the new date, Saturday the 14th will be Dia de amor, amistad y BAUTISMO [Day of love, friendship, and BAPTISM].  SO in the end, this week our hearts will rejoice evermore because he will FINALLY be able to enter the waters of baptism. 

After the family left....we noticed that a few of the members that were there for the baptism were mopping up water that I thought had flooded in from outside, maybe from those entering into the church building in the pouring rain.  BUT....on second thought, this is way too much water to be from just the rain.  Just then I remembered the baptismal font that I was filling up at FULL BLAST to fill it up even quicker.  AHH…You guessed it - I forgot to shut it off.  I FLOODED THE CHURCH!!! Hahaha Oh my heavens family!  :)  Everyone said that since we couldn’t baptize our investigator, I baptized the church instead.  I ran to the font, which at this point was OVERLY full, turned off the water and unplugged the drain.  We spent the rest of the night soaking up all the water in the church.  Luckily, it is tile and not carpet. :)  HAHAHA we had a good laugh!  At the end of the night, we still had a leftover cake, and we ended up giving it to the guards of our gated community because they were drenched from the rain and needed some cheering up!  What a day, right?!!! 

From this story you can see that I am obviously NOT a perfect missionary...at all.  Becoming like Christ is HARD…but I LOVE IT!!  Along with Elder Holland, "I am convinced missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy."  As HIS representative I am here to become like HIM, in ALL aspects.  Christ gave us the PERFECT example of what it truly means to serve with all your HEART, MIGHT, MIND, AND STRENGTH!  His heart was broken.  He experienced exhaustion.  He understands.  What HE did was not easy...so of course, what I am doing as his representative will not be easy.  But even so, I LOVE it with all my HEART, MIGHT, MIND, AND STRENGTH.  I KNOW my Savior, now that I am here serving HIM.  I have felt his LOVE and strength this week like never before. 

In this month of LOVE, I so glad that I am in LOVE with being a missionary and I can feel the LOVE of my Savior as I serve Him.

Well dear family, I love you all!  Thank you for all the love and support!


Love and adore you all!

Hermana B

P.S.  I forgot to tell you last week that Familia Leon FINALLY got to enter into the temple (after years of anticipation), to perform baptisms for some of their ancestors.  I cannot tell you how happy I am, they are THE greatest.

I LOVE to see the temple!
LtoR Hermana Vilchez, Hermana B, Domenica, Jessica y Victor Leon

Also, Meet the Mormons is now in Spanish (it’s called conozca a los Mormones) and I finally saw it this last week.  It is SO GOOD!!!!  I LOVED IT!  It is coming soon to all the movie theaters in Ecuador.  The First Presidency wanted all of the missionaries to be able to see it first so we could invite EVERYONE to see it!

And finally, a long-awaited picture of the grasshoppers - 

ALL the dead grillos under the welcome mat of the church!  
(By the way, this is nothing compared to what it usually is)

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